The Princess appears to be under the illusion that her lunch rolls come in a magic bag that spontaneously refills when the last roll is removed. For this to happen the empty bag must be left in the freezer and not a word uttered that the final roll has been consumed. Of course, what then follows are the anguished cries of “Where’s the bread?” first thing in the morning when she discovers that the plastic bag isn’t quite so magical after all.
I don’t make a lot of bread over summer, but for the rest of the year I try to have a bucket of bread dough in the fridge. The Princess was lucky that her discovery came during a spell of slightly cooler weather, so this particular morning she did not have to resort to the school canteen. When you have dough in the fridge, it becomes extremely easy to whip up a flatbread or wrap first thing in the morning.
I know that making bread, in addition to all the other things that must be done before school or work, is the last thing you feel like doing on a busy morning. If you are organised enough to have dough in the fridge, these flatbreads can be whipped up between other activities. Let me walk you through my workflow on the morning in question.
Place the frying pan on a low heat. Take the bucket of dough out of the fridge and break off a small portion. Shape the dough into a ball and place on the bench. Fill the kettle and turn it on, which gives the dough time to relax a little. Come back to the dough ball and roll it out. Place the flatbread in the frying pan. Quickly wipe the excess flour off the bench. Wander off to find The Princess’s socks. Realise I forgot to bring the washing in last night and all the clean socks are on the line. Wander out to the line for socks. Throw socks in the general direction of The Princess and go back into the kitchen to turn the flatbread over. Empty the tea pot in the front garden. Come back into the kitchen for a brief chat with The Princess about some girl issues she is having at school (girls!). Take the flatbread out of the frying pan. Turn the frying pan off (crucial point). Try and cool the flatbread down so that lunch can be made it time to catch the school bus.
The hardest part of the whole process was trying to get the flatbread to cool fast enough, which in itself would not have been an issue had I realised there was no bread earlier. I will whip up a flatbread too for myself at lunchtime if there is no other bread in the house. They are also great spread with chunky dip or as a side with Middle Eastern dishes.
If you want to avoid the last minute panic in the morning, make a stack of flatbreads and freeze them. They defrost quite quickly, but you could give them a quick zap in the microwave to help them along if needs be. They store well in the freezer, particularly if you use a magic bag.
Quick & Easy Flatbreads
- 70 g of stored Artisan Bread Dough
- White bread flour extra for dusting
- Put a 22cm frying pan on a low heat.
- Dust the top of your stored dough with flour, and pinch off a 70g ball.
- Shape the dough into a ball.
- Dust the bench, rolling pin and the top of the dough ball with flour and roll into a round approximately 3 - 4mm thick. Dust with flour as required to ensure the bread does not stick to the bench.
- Put the flatbread into the frying pan and increase the heat to medium.
- Cook for approximately 3 minutes, until the surface is dry and the underside has some brown spots on it.
- Flip the flatbread over and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until brown spots are evident on the underside.
- Remove from the frying pan and place in a clean tea towel to cool.
I use a 22cm frying pan because that is what I have. You can use whatever size you want, preferably not non stick.
Shape your dough ball using whatever process you are comfortable with. I hold the dough in my hands and pull the sides of the ball down and under, which results in a seam on the bottom of the ball. This seam disappears when the dough is rolled out. Don't stress to much about it though. Anything that gets you a ball is good.
Stress less about the thickness of the flatbread and more about the size of your frying pan. Don't roll your dough larger than your frying pan because you are just making life difficult for yourself.
I cool the flatbreads in a tea towel as this keeps them soft and pliant. If you cool them on a rack they will still be nice, but may not be as soft.